Review: TMNT Universe #1

TMNT-Universe01_cvrASo having been such an avid reader of comic books now for decades, sometimes one can forget what the main point of a comic book should be: to be fun. More importantly, to entertain. Well IDW Publishing definitely seems to know what makes a winning recipe and unlike most sauces, too many cooks here doesn’t spoil it one bit.

In fact, in each short anthology tale featured in TMNT Universe #1, a new layer is added as we peel back the onion on a very vast and growing universe.

The main story shows the Turtles on their rooftop patrol as a backup of sorts for their gal pal April as she is trying to form a business alliance with evil tech genius Baxter Stockman inside the TCRI headquarters.

While April tries to make some headway with the Turtles long time foe, our heroes are using their collective heads in a different way, namely arguing over who has the better weapon for battle.  It’s the little humorous moments like these that show the writer has a good grasp on these  characters.

The plot thickens whilst April tries to make an ally of Baxter Stockman. He dismisses her as a non-issue until she drops some heaping truth bombs on him. Enraged by this new found knowledge, Stockman resorts to threatening our favorite heroine. Before he can carry out his threat it seems that the “good” doctor has a new enemy in his midst.

Before our new baddie can leave the scene of the crime, our half-shelled heroes arrive and find quickly they are but no match her. She dispatches them all with ease and leaves the Turtles in a very precarious position by the end of the main story.

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We then shift gears and focus on the classic creative team and all knowing Ninja God scribe Kevin Eastman and legendary artist Bill Sienkiewicz the reigns for the next jaunt into the Turtleverse. It’s a nice short tale featuring Leonardo taking on the Foot Clan.

The story is nothing Earth shattering here. Just Leonardo having a good ol’ fashioned slice and dice with some foolish henchman. It would be a totally pedestrian segment in the book if it weren’t for Leo’s banter and internal monologs. Parts of it are quite funny and Sienkiewicz’ gritty scratchy art (reminiscent of Frank Miller) fits the mood just right. Leo is left in a situation by story’s end and we get the obligatory “To Be Continued”

Last but not least we end with the “Secret Origin of The Foot Clan.” I found this to be very cool as it’s not an aspect that has heavily been explored (at least not until this IDW run) It’s a quick story that has a lone swordsman surviving an onslaught from his “brothers” in ancient feudal Japan. The action and story moves briskly and is pretty cut and dry but the last few panels offer up something intriguing.

Overall: All in all like most anthology books, this had a little of everything. Being the big Turtle fan that I am, I loved the opening story. It set up a new direction with possibly April and Baxter being allies and introduced a new formidable villain. I’m not quite sure of her game yet but the way she was introduced, definitely made me want to see a bit more.

Eastman’s Leo tale was pretty decent but compared to the other two stories it came off as filler with no serious ramifications coming from it. What it means to future issues remains to be seen.

Between the main story and the Foot Clan short, I was definitely satisfied. This issue wasn’t quite the Meat Lovers Pizza I was looking for but had a little bit of everything to make it a house special.

Story: Paul Allor, Kevin Eastman, and Tom Waltz
Art: Damian Couceiro, Bill Sienkiewicz, Freddie E. Williams
Story: 7 Art: 8 Score: 7.3 Recommendation: Read

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review